As the UK begins to slowly reopen, following nationwide lockdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, new rules for car showrooms have now come into force. Car showrooms across the country are now able to reopen, providing they have certain protective measures put into place to protect both customers and staff.
In order to reopen, car dealerships need to ensure that they display a COVID-19 Secure health and safety certificate. The certificate can be downloaded from the HSE website after the business has performed a thorough risk assessment and fully documented their findings.
Car dealers are required to look through the guidance available at the HSE website, which explains the risks that dealers need to think about and gives tips to ensure that staff and customers are able to maintain social distancing in the showroom
The HSE guidance for showrooms outlines how the business premises should be cleaned and kept safe, as well as how to manage staff and contractors in order to create the least risk possible. Showrooms must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised every day, with surfaces wiped down every hour, and touch points and seating in cars cleaned after each customer has been into contact with them. Cars and keys must also be thoroughly disinfected before being handed over to owners.
Customers may be required to test cars alone, and dealers should ensure that trade plates and relevant insurance are in place before this is allowed.
Meanwhile, many showrooms have had perspex barriers fitted to reception desks, and one-way signage put in place to allow customers and staff to remain more than two metres apart when moving through the showroom.
It is suggested that access to dealerships be limited as much as necessary. Showrooms may be operated on an appointment-only basis, and much of the dealership’s business may be operated online rather than in-person.
If your business isn’t yet open and you are looking to ensure a safe and secure environment for customers and staff, that sticks rigidly to guidance and is easy to maintain, there are some steps that you can take before reopening.
Put together a task force, featuring representation of every department within your dealership, so that you can get in-depth knowledge of the risks and hazards present in each area.
Together with your task force, via a group discussion, you should be able to work on a plan to create a safer working environment within your car showroom. During this discussion you can ask questions like:
To reopen your showroom, you will need to have some regulations put in place to protect customer-facing employees. Work with your team to:
If your showroom does not already have an air purification system in place, now is the perfect time to install one.
It is true that we don’t fully understand how the coronavirus is transmitted yet, meaning that research into the effectiveness of air purifiers in combating the coronavirus specifically is not yet available. However, it is known that similar viruses are spread via large droplets when an infected person coughs, talks or sneezes. These viruses can also be spread through smaller particles in the air (also known as droplet nuclei, and through contact with infected surfaces – called fomite transmission).
This means that creating a healthy environment in the building that you operate from is likely to be a key element in the fight against the coronavirus. Studies have found that air purifiers in highly vulnerable transmission sites such as schools can reduce the risk of transmission by up to 50%, whilst other research shows that higher outdoor air ventilation rates and increased filtration reduces the risk from influenza, rhinovirus, tuberculosis and SARS.
For buildings with suitable air filtration systems, these environments can be improved by ensuring that the air purifier is running at all times when the building is occupied, rather than just during business hours. Controlling the airflow between rooms to ensure that each room has a healthy air supply is also key. It has been noted in the past that unclean air circulating around entire buildings can actually spread illness very quickly. Outdoor air should come into rooms and exit clean into others, rather than just circulating the air as is.
Most air purifiers – including Hepa Filters, Charcoal Filters, 4 stage Filters, are passive, which means that air is only treated when it passes through the filter. Depending on the air circulation in a showroom, as well as how frequently people come and go within it, it maybe the case that there is always a proportion of the air that is never treated, and that consequently the risk is never properly reduced to an optimal level.
As well as this drawback, these technologies rely on filters that become clogged and ineffective over time so that they rely on routing maintenance to offer any benefit at all.
A great example of an air purification system without these drawbacks and which is designed to clean air, remove odours and destroy viruses and bacteria is the Airius PureAir series of PHI fans.
These use photohydroionisation (PHI) cells to actively circulate hydroperoxides, superoxide ions and hydroxide ions through the internal atmosphere, which are cleansing molecules that efficiently neutralise more than 99% of all harmful pathogens on contact.
This technology may seem revolutionary, but actually hydroperoxides are a completely natural cleanser, being the natural agent that gives that ‘clean’ smell to the air after thunderstorms. PHI fans has been found to significantly reduce airborne pollutants including Bird Flu, Norovirus, E.Coli and Listeria among others, enabling businesses to maintain a healthy building and clean environment that protects customers, staff and guests.
To see how these fans can benefit your business then please get in touch with us by calling 01202 554 200 or, alternatively, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org